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Started by schmatz on 04/11/2010 7:42pm


I have been a lower back pain sufferer for almost 40 agonizing years. It has gone out so many times, I have lost count. I have been going to my chiripractor for 17 years, and he has helped a lot, but he told me that my lower back likes to be "out of position" no matter how many times he corrects it.

I have been through physical therapy twice, the last time being in January and ending about a month ago. I went to a very reputable clinic that only does backs and necks, so I thought I was going to be "cured"--- finally.

Exactly three weeks later to the day, my back went out..again...and this time it was so bad I ended up in the ER the next day. I was unable to go the day of, because I was could not get into my van, the pain was that bad. This is the first time I had to go to the ER for the pain, and received a muscle relaxer shot and pain shot, and then pills of the same.

The only thing I can think of that may have caused this to happen, is the night before I had done a round of modified push ups that I had done in physical therapy, and then went to sleep. I had never done them at home before, and I am thinking that it was just enough to cause a slipped disc which I think I have.

I was "down for the count" for several days, and when I talked to my physical therapist because I was suppose to return the next day for monthly maintainence, I was told that I should get an MRI. I went to my doctor first and he gave me a steroid shot which has helped some, but not as much as I had hoped. I am getting the MRI this week, and am very scared it is will show something serious.

My question is, does anyone know if the physical therapy in general could have caused this problem and/or perhaps the push ups I did at home? I am able to walk ok, but the pain persists, but is not as bad as in the beginning. I am very leary about moving the wrong way, for fear it will get worse. In the past, I would be doing better in a few days to a week, but this time it is has been 11 days.

Thanks so much for any help you can offer on this problem.

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8 Responses


I had severe pains. Received the steriod shot, pain med spasm med. Then sent to therapy. Pain increased after some 5 days and 3 therapy sessions. Pain was so severe at third therapy they did not do much, knowing I was to see Doc that afternoon. They did give to me a write up to give to my physician as to what they observed whileI was in therapy.
I was sent for a MRI. Results showed disks problems and was sent (referred to ) a center for pain.
The doctors at the center I was referred to ONLY see new patients after reviewing records. (Make sure if this happens to you, save time by finding out about record review) it saves valuable time versus waiting for a doctor that consults with you first then makes a decision, the miracle of fax machines and computer sending info means a lot. About 2 weeks for me.
I received 3 series of injections. The muscle/spasm pain has lessened. Now, the nerve pain is quite rough and painful to deal with. I had been given meds for that which helps.
The injections are not going to be enough for me. I am to see a surgeon next week.In the time while waiting no other therapy or anything is to be done.
Stay patient while awaiting the MRI, but be persistent on making sure ALL readings etc get to your doctor A.S.A.P. Time is important as I will tell anyone first hand. Getting results and a consult with your Dr. at the end of the week just causes you to have to wait longer for the next step. An additional weekend in pain is awful.
To answer you question I guess the MRI results will determine what may have caused damage. I would suggest having therapy and chiro. treatment/procedures you had done with you when you see your physician when discussing the results of the MRI. That will help them actually see what someone has or has not done to hurt your situation. **Med records can be taken to another doctor by you!!!


I'm 47 now. somewhere in my 20s I screwed up my back significantly. For years about 2 or 3 times a year I would get severe spasms in my lower back. In 2001 it turned into a bit of a "tingle" down my left leg, a first for this. I saw my Dr. who sent me to a Chiropractor. After about 3 days I couldn't walk, stand, sit, sleep, move, ANYTHING. I described it to my Dr. as "put my left leg in the tightest tournequet for a few days then put my leg in a fire...". Clearly the WORST pain I have ever felt. I couldn't imagine something could create so much pain. It was a 12 on a 1-10 scale.
Got an MRI the next day. My Dr. called in a Panic and said I had an appt. with the surgeon on Monday (it was currently Friday). The surgeon called and said if I lost bowel or bladder control over the weekend to call them... YIKES! "This is a possibility" I thought. Now add anxiety to the mix.

Saw the surgeon on Monday, a 15mm (about 6/10") bulge in my L5S1 disk crushing my S1 nerve root to obscurity on the MRI. Fortunately my insurance did NOT require therapy/this/that/the other thing as I would have just as well shot myself at this point. He gave me about as heavy duty pain meds as he could for the few days until surgery (Thursday). The meds were of little help but that little went a long way and at least they put a smile on my face.

BTW: I was litteraly crawling to and from the car and bathroom during this time. Quite embarrasing to crawl accross a parking lot. I can laugh now but I had a Great Dane at the time and he saw my crawling as an opportunity to make me his sex slave. My wife and kids got a great laugh at that.

Thursday, surgery. Went out, woke up, NO PAIN....GONE! It was a "Micro Discectomy". No laminectomy was involved. He punched a hole through the facet and trimmed up the offending disk that had split open and dumped its "annulus" out onto my nerve".

One year later, the pain returned (as the Dr. said it quite possibly could as the disk was still there) with a vengeance (spelling???). He suggested injections, I was ready for the knife again as it worked so well the first time but I heeded his suggestion and had the injections. They worked like a charm and again, pain gone.

Jump ahead to 2006. Pain back. Not bad, the injections worked for 4 years pain free. Back to the same surgeon. Another MRI, more injections, no change. Knife again but this time the L4/L5 disk was also involved so this "micro discectomy" will be on both disks. Better after but still pretty good sciattica. My insurance would'nt cover artificial disk replacement and I didn't want to "pull the trigger" on fusion (scared the crap out of me).

2007. After several more series of injections of varying types, PT, drugs, XRays and more MRIs he saw some bone involvement now and figured he could go in and get rid of the offending bone issues. Back under the knife. He found an additional spot of bone involvement that didn't show on the MRI and fixed that as well. Really no change after this surgery so I opted for another series of a "different kind" of injection that also had no influence on the problem.

2008. I finally decided to pull the trigger on the fusion surgery. It was a 2 level, L4/L5 and L5/S1 done from the front. So I now have scars on my back that look like I have enourmous plumbers but as well as a 5" scar to the left of my belly button. I was SO worried that I would look like I had a broom stick up my butt due to lack of mobility among other things that I was just really freaked out when I went in this time despite all the doctors and articles telling me otherwise.
Not a fun "wake up" from this surgery. Unbelievably painful and I was still intubated (briefly, but I remember). I had a central line in my neck and was in the hospital for 6 nights. Pretty freaky.

All my fears about the fusion were for naught. I really don't notice any significant change in mobility, there are small ones but nothing major. I still do all the things I did before such as ride motorcycles (dirt bikes).... and fall on occasion.

HOWEVER..... I still have chronic and occationally acute instances of severe sciattica. I have not had a spasm in several years now though. I've got some permanent damage to that S1 nerve root that I just have to live with along with the pain such as numbness and atrophy. I'm currently on long acting narcotics that seem to do the trick and don't really affect me otherwise.

So.... I guess the moral here is don't be affraid of surgery. I wish I'd have done the fusion at the second surgery instead of the fourth and perhaps it would have done the trick instead of waiting a few more years while my nerve deteriorated. It was magical for me, at least the first time.



I am 48 I hurt my back for the first time when I was 18. Now 30 years later I have worked construction and was able to lift 150lbs when I weighed 175 lbs. It was a great ride getting here but now I am here it is hell! my dr. doesn't like to give pain meds, I have had 5 cort injections and they do not seem to work I blew a disk the night before I was to have one of the injections and even the ones after the fact did nothing but put more toxins in my body. My nephew has been through the surgery and is none the better I have a tens unit and on some days that doesn't even help. I am on Medicaid and it does not get you the best of care, let me tell you! I am in always in pain and I have learned to deal with it some what but not being able to move much has done nothing but make me gain weight and the Dr. has a fit even told me to go down to a 500 calorie a day diet well that covers coffee and breakfast no food for the rest of the day. I ask him for meds so I can move and he tells me I will hurt my self more on them because they "dull the pain" not really on my side! but it brings it down to where I can be up moving for maybe 20 min instead of 10 min if there is any one that has a idea that may help I would be greatly interested
Ty Mond


To Schmatz, just don't be too alarmed if the MRI looks bad. Sometimes the results on the MRI do not necessarily indicate the level of pain or disability you may have. My own MRI looks pretty bad and I do have issues or I wouldn't be on this website, but from looking at my MRI, you might think I'd be in horrible pain and I'm really not. On the other hand, it's my understanding that an MRI can not show that much and the person be in pretty bad pain. Just sayin' don't be alarmed by findings on MRI if they are bad. Not sure about your physical therapy question. My neurosurgeon's office did caution me about exercise. Apparently, some exercises are not good. They said basically if it hurts even if a physical therapist recommends it, DON'T do it!

To Mond , you might try going to someone who is a pain specialist (if your doctor is not one.) I hear what your doctor is saying about masking the pain, but sometimes you do need a certain level of pain relief just to function and do what you need to do if that makes sense. Often a pain specialist doctor has more expertise in balancing these issues . At least, that's been my observation.


I agree with KayKay. I have severe pain due to spinal cord tumor. You need to see a pain management doctor, or maybe an othopedic surgeon. There is a pain pump out there that may help you. I am going for the trial on 4/26. I was given two options; pain pump or spinal cord stimulator, but it doesn't sound like the spinal cord stim will work if no nerve pain. Also, I've been told that you can require a higher dosage of pain meds after a while and also that they can damage your kidneys and liver. Anyway, I wish you good luck in your quest for relief. Let us know how you are doing.

As for the physical therapy, I think it can hurt you. Be careful and treat yourself gently


It makes me SOOOOO cranky when the doctors are "reluctant" to prescribe pain meds. I've had so many injections I can't count and they only worked once. Pain meds work every single time, albeit only if the doctor is willing to give you strong enough ones.

I had double hernia surgery a few years back. VERY painful after as every time you move you need those muscles they just cut apart. He gave me vicodin. This after telling him I've been on stronger meds for my back. I asked for Percocet to get me through the week. He refused, eventually telling me he wasn't licensed to prescribe Class II narcotics??????? A surgeon that can't precribe pain meds, YIKES!!! I delt with it but almost ended up in the ER just for the pain.

Fortunately my back ortho dr. is more then willing to give you what you need for the pain for as long as you need it. I'm now with a pain management clinic that specializes in long term narcotic pain management. They do the injections too but I'm so sick of the injections I just told them to put me on the drugs so they did. Life is MUCH better. Find a new dr. that will give you the meds. You are entitled under the law to pain relief and if it's medication that does it then that's what you shoudl get. It's posted in every ER.

And to schmatz, yes PT can make things worse, it sure did for me or one hell of a coincidence. See the surgeon, they work magic and don't be afraid of fusion if that's what it takes.



deleted by Jim